March 20, 2013 Subject:
I'm a believer.
A little background before I begin my review. This was not my first Newton Crosby show, and it definitely won't be my last. I love these guys. Alas, I have a girlfriend that's not really into the whole "Anything that's not Top 20" scene, and due to Work concerns, or her not enjoying herself, I had yet to see a FULL Newton Crosby show. I love her, but that's the way it is.
I left her at home this time. And stayed. And saw what I was missing. This is a band where the energy starts out high, and increases exponentially with each passing moment on stage. The soaring guitar riffs, led by "Squigs" and Chris Cartelli, elevate, mix, change, and most importantly -- interact. From crunchy blues-based riffs, to spiraling guitar trade-offs, this pair feeds off of the other's energy and takes each jam to great places. Alzie Sisco, otherwise known as "panda bear" by his friends (or so I'm told), never missed a beat on drums, changing tempos seamlessly, with flawless transition. Eric Mitchell... just listen to the Keys, people. They speak for themselves. Top notch musicianship. Mr. Vegas kills it on bass. A newer addition to the band, Billy Vegas brought a fuller sound to the Newton Crosby machine like it was his JOB. Well, actually; it is his job, that's why he's in the band. But he did a great job at his job. The mystery man on saxophone in this performance was the final piece that had been missing in the band. It worked for Kung-Fu. It worked for Deep Banana Blackout. And it worked WONDERS for Newton Crosby. I bow to whoever's idea it was to get a sax in on this lineup. He was great.
But I digress... as I was saying, this was the first show that I stayed completely through, from beginning to end, to hear them play. I made a big mistake leaving early other times -- and for this, I must beg the band's forgiveness. They get better with each passing minute. They had me hooked with the jam in "faceless," featuring Tim Palmieri and Todd Stoops of Kung-Fu. And I thought to myself, "how the hell are they going to top that?" They did.
Remember Ocean Billy? Er.... I mean, Billy Ocean? Yeah, the guy from 1985. Well, immediately following that jam, they launched into a cover of his "Carribean Queen," with a Newton Crosby original, "Slip Pass," sandwiched in between the beginning and the end with some tasty jams for extra flavor. All in all, I believe this was jammed out to twenty-seven minutes, but it FELT like five. Awesome. This "Carribean Queen Sandwich" was my favorite jam of the night. Period. If I didn't even stay for Kung-Fu (which I did -- they kicked ass), it wouldn't have mattered, because this was HANDS DOWN the best jam that took place at the Stone Pony this particular Saturday evening.
The next song, "Jungle Brother," has a few lines in it that say "Take me home". Well, that was exactly what happened. They brought it home with a vengeance. The energy never decreased at any point during this set, and the funky "Jungle Brother" made sure that everybody in attendance, from wall to windows, got on their feet and danced.
From "Jungle Brother", Newton segued into what is in my opinion, their best jam vehicle, "Worst Day Ever." Everybody kept right on Dancing. The four or so minutes that this song was playing, the Pony knew that it would one day host a Newton Crosby headlining show. WDE is high-energy, spiraling into the atmosphere with sunny licks and fluffy musicianship akin to bands such as Umphrey's, Conspirator, and the Disco Biscuits.
Nobody saw it coming. To close the set, arising from the depths of reality and mediocre 80's sci-fi, came a cover of Oingo Boingo's theme song from the movie "Weird Science."
Yeah, you read that correctly. I'd seen Newton play this before, but the mystery man on sax added a new dimension, as he did to everything else throughout the evening.
This band is a skyscraper. Right now, they're laying the foundations for something that is going to rise tall and proud in the city of music. It's very obvious while watching them that their strong friendships influence greatly their freedom to jam. Get in on the ground floor of this, people. This band is going places. Soon, nobody is going have a chance to pay 10 dollars for a Newton Crosby ticket, like I did on this particular night. Their fanbase is growing with every show, and rightfully so. I am lucky enough to have spoken with members of the band on many occasions, and their determination is obvious. They're going to be around for awhile.